A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Ralph Green: Alpine Skier
COLORADO—Ralph Green didn’t give up after he lost a leg following a random street shooting. He learned how to ski and he’s learning how to win. Coaches say he’s fearless and a hard worker. He also is the first African-American man to make the U.S. Disabled Alpine Team.
Green got his first taste of international racing last winter and absorbed as much experience as possible as he laid a foundation from which he hopes to build a place on the team that will compete at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turin, Italy. So, far he’s shown slalom and GS are his top events. “I learned I have the ability to be the best in the world,” he said.
A high school quarterback and multi-sport athlete, Green was gunned down at age 16 while he and a friend walked along a street in Brooklyn. His left leg was amputated at the hip. He was introduced a year later to skiing in the Poconos and it didn’t do much for him.
After high school, Ralph moved to Winter Park, CO for three months, and eventually went home – only to return to Winter Park and its excellent disabled ski program. “And that’s when it stuck. I said, ‘I’m skiing until I’m the best.’ And that was [in 2000],” he said.
“I’m not scared to go fast, not scared to crash, but I learned you have to finish and that’s what I’m doing now. Fear is not a factor,” he explained.
Green is the second among five children. In addition to racing, he achieved two other goals in 2003: He was a guest speaker at Career Day at his elementary school (P.S. 81) and his high school (Boys and Girls HS). An avid athlete, Ralph played football, basketball, baseball, tennis and was starting track when he was shot.